Thursday, July 27, 2006

The No-Evidence Brigade

The No Evidence Brigade of the KMT is on the prowl again...

A legislator yesterday accused President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of appropriating public money to build "luxury" fitness facilities for his personal use in the grounds of the presidential residence.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) made the accusations at a press conference, saying that the charges were based on information from a member of staff at the Presidential Office who didn't want to be identified.

"It's an 8m-high white building, 2m of which is underground and 6m above ground. The facility covers an area of 310 ping (1,023m2), with the building itself covering 180 ping. It cost NT$60 million (US$1.83 million) in total," Wu said.

Wu said that the facility included a swimming pool and a "luxurious" gym, but he didn't produce any pictures or other evidence at the press conference.


It's amazing how people here make accusations without evidence. Usually the newspapers report them without comment, so it is good that the Taipei Times reporter pointed out that no evidence had been provided. Of course, in a presidential scandal, the Lady MacBeth must be the ultimate mover of events:

Wu alleged that it was the first lady's idea to build the pool and the gym and that the Presidential Office had used the National Security Bureau's budget to build it.

The President's Office had to waste time rebutting this stupidity:

The Presidential Office issued a statement last night saying that Wu's accusations were groundless.

"The `gym' Wu referred to is a training facility for security officials and does not include a swimming pool. The facility cost NT$10 million to construct, not NT$60 million," the statement said.

The statement added that the Yushan officers had moved to a temporary facility because their dormitory was being renovated.

The habit of people making claims without evidence is central to the attacks on President Chen. It is worth noting again that no evidence of wrongdoing by Chen has been put forward. Chui Yi, the original No Evidence Man and point man for the assault on Chen, who has never won a lawsuit brought by one of his defamation victims, is currently facing four of them:

According to Chiu's indictment, in March last year, Chiu told cable station TBVS's political talk show, 2100 Quan Min Kai Jiang (Speaking Your Mind at 2100) that a construction company was able to win a NT$5 billion (US$152,905,100) bid from the Taiwan Power Company because DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun was behind the company.

Chiu said his accusation was based on solid evidence, but when prosecutors asked him to provide the evidence, he told them the accusation against Yu was based on his suspicions.


As usual in cases without evidence, all Chiu Yi can do is cry persecution:

"Prosecutors again yielded in obedience to Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) government and they became tools of the government," Chiu said.

"The only reason prosecutors are indicting me is to stop me from revealing more scandals such as the Presidential Office submitting falsified receipts for reimbursement under its special allowances expenditure budget," he said.


Actually, the prosecutorial arm, like most law enforcement in Taiwan, is overwhelmingly pro-Blue. It is highly unlikely that the have yielded to the blandishments of the horrible Chen Shui-bian. Also prominent in these cases is the involvement of foreign governments as authenticators of the claimant's nonsense. Recall, for example, Li Ao's claim that the CIA sent him a report saying that Chen Shui-bian faked the assassination on himself, the Ultimate Case of the No-Evidence Brigade. Here Chiu Yi is now claiming that the Australian government will back him:

An opposition legislator yesterday outlined a complex conspiracy involving the first lady, a fashion designer and the Grand Hotel, saying the Australian government would investigate the matter and prove fraudulent expenses had been recorded by the Presidential Office.

"This might become a diplomatic incident between the two countries," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) told reporters.

Chiu Yi claims that first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) used receipts she obtained issued by the Grand Hotel to Ligi Lee (李慧芬) -- an Australia-based fashion designer -- to mask her embezzlement of funds from the Presidential Office's special expenditure budget.

Chiu Yi said Ligi Lee had said the receipts totalled NT$3.36 million (US$102,220), and were given to Wu because Ligi Lee's cousin, Lee Bi-chun (李碧君), told her that the first lady needed them.

In a brief statement, the Presidential Office denied the accusation, saying only that the receipts were submitted by "a person" who acted as a "go-between" for the nation's de facto diplomatic mission in Australia, who received the receipts from Lee Bi-chun to seek reimbursement from the office.


Chiu Yi has sued Chen over this case. Let's not forget -- Chiu Yi himself has a history of lawbreaking and should at the moment be doing time, as this editorial points out:

Chiu should consider himself fortunate that he lives in the Taiwan of the 21st century, as just 22 years ago such accusations could have seen him suffer the same fate as Henry Liu (劉宜良), the Chinese-American reporter murdered at his home in California for writing an unflattering biography of then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國). Taiwan has come a long way in a very short time and Chiu should not forget this.

So how Chiu has the effrontery to accuse prosecutors of bending to the government's will is beyond belief. If that were the case then he would probably be residing in prison right now as a result of the criminal damage he caused when he incited a riot and led a sound truck to repeatedly ram the gates of the Kaohsiung Prosecutors' Office following the 2004 presidential election.

Prosecutors indicted Chiu more than two years ago for his part in the damage, which was captured on film. This, combined with the fact he was serving a suspended sentence for violating the Public Officials' Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法) at the time, means he should have been in prison a long time ago.

But Chiu and his patrons at TVBS -- he admitted the relationship in a recent interview with the South China Morning Post -- take advantage of Taiwan's highly partisan political atmosphere to make slanderous allegations safe in the knowledge that little, if any, action will be taken against them. Any cry of political persecution brings back painful memories for too many people in Taiwan and ensures that legislators from both sides get away scot-free when making the most outrageous allegations.


Yup. Further, under the old system, where there were more seats for legislators, publicity seeking in this manner was a common tactic for legislators, since picking up only a few votes through keeping themselves in the public eye could mean a successful run for office. But the reforms have reduced the number of seats to 113, and many legislators must already be eyeing next year with great nervousness. Hence, expect a continuing flood of such nonsense as legislators struggle to keep themselves in the public eye.

4 comments:

Sergio said...

Did you notice that those journalists had different definitions about K party? Benjamin Kang Lim (Reuters) said Nationalist Party, but the AFP journalist called it Kuomintang (KMT). When I checked the dictionary about the meaning of nationalist, I found out that it meant the concept of human social and cultural identity that holds that nations (either ethnically or culturally defined) are the "fundamental units" for human social life. Apparently, Benjamin got it right. The people in K party did have this concept. That is to say, the party agreed with the China Government; they wanted the entire Chinese race to become a nation. Actually, Two World Wars had been triggered because of nationalism.
When you said," According to Chiu's indictment, in March last year, Chiu told cable station TBVS's political talk show, 2100 Quan Min Kai Jiang..." It's TVBS not TBVS, but I still could understand it. I just found this very interesting and wanted to share with you.
http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/jw!9dJKamWYFhvHrHPMMqBqEvZD

zhonghuarising said...

You are right to point out how sad it is that the government has to divert time and energy to refuting rumors of a luxury gym rather than spend their time governing the country. I had no idea that journalism in Taiwan so often publishes pieces without evidence. Although maybe that is just global media nowadays?

Taiwan's Other Side said...

Odd that you posted this on the heels of real evidence being confirmed about potential abuses by the Chen family, as discussed on my blog today.

Both sides certainly have a no-evidence brigade - I'd say it's one of the more entertaining elements of Taiwan politics. Sadly, a disturbing number of these accusations from the KMT side have turned out to be true later.

Scott Sommers said...

Other Side, excuse me for asking, but what are these "accusations from the KMT that turned out to be true"? You imply that it's some large number. Particularly after Michael's report on all of the made up KMT accusations, I hope you can understand that I don't believe you, and that you too are acting a part in the smear campaign of a political organization that has never worried about honesty, accuracy, or decency.